Research and development north of the Arctic Circle
Alphabet’s “moonshots” division X announced its latest project on Sunday, called Tidal, in an effort to preserve ocean life and help feed humanity.
Tidal will use an underwater camera system and machine perception tools to monitor and track thousands of individual fish and log their behaviors and environment. Tracking that behavior will help farmers understand their pens better, in order to track their health and avoid overfeeding, the company said in a blog post.
Alphabet’s X launched about a decade ago with the hopes that it can use new technologies to solve global problems. The so-called moonshot factory has developed a handful of projects so far, including delivery drones and internet balloons. Its most notable is Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving car unit.
Alphabet’s hope is to use X as an incubator to build a new area of growth for the company outside its core digital advertising business at Google. But X and the rest of Alphabet’s companies have yet to find a big, new moneymaker.
X had been working on Tidal for three years before publicly unveiling the project this week, the company said.
“This is a critical issue: humanity is pushing the ocean past its breaking point, but we can’t protect what we don’t understand,” Tidal’s General Manager Neil Dave said in a blog post. “Our initial area of focus is on developing technologies that bring greater visibility and understanding of what’s happening under the water.”
Tidal is the unit’s first publicly announced project since it discontinued its power-generating kite project Makani in mid-February.
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